What It Is To Be

by Friends In America

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    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    The CD version of our debut record. Gatefold card case with lyric sheet.

    Update - we found some more CDs kicking about that we hadn't sold, so we're sticking the last few on here! If you didn't get one when they were originally being sold, now's your chance! Extremely limited so get in quick!

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The debut record from Friends In America. Lovingly constructed over the past two years in Hamish's bedroom. Two years of unbelievable stress, but also of intense joy. A totally DIY effort. We are so excited to let you hear the result of these two years of our lives.


released June 26, 2013

Friends In America is Matthew Rawlings, Hamish Black, Liam Chapman and Scott Duffy. Former bassist Fraser Stewart recorded his parts before he left the band in 2011.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Hamish Black in his bedroom from 2011-2013.
Additional mixing and mastering with Marshall Craigmyle at Old Mill Studios
Drums recorded with help from Barry Mop
Produced by Friends In America



all rights reserved


Friends In America Glasgow, UK

Friends In America is Matthew Rawlings (vocals, lyrics, guitar) and Hamish Black (guitar, production, instrumentation). Musical soulmates and (figurative) brothers since 2010.

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Track Name: What It Is To Be
What it is to be
Fine lines and in-betweens (oh no)
Drunken fumbles, nicotine
Wake the neighbors
Singing in the streets (oh no)
What it is to be

What it is to be
A job you hate but can't ever leave
Another punch up
Blues and Greens
A chip shop window smashed to smithereens (oh no)

What it is to be
Track Name: Gaffe
The wallpaper wilted and it caught the wind
Blew straight up and tore in half
Now the room stays still inside itself

I thumb through balled up yellow notes
A list of things I'll never need
I feel the night bend back my skin
So I bite my lip when I let it in

If you leave that's when I'll go

The chimney stack calls out a cough
It's black lung bark is getting worse
Stick figures are playing in my soot

Abandoned kitchen tops and chairs
A mouse trap laying wide awake
I washed my hands eight years ago
Of everything inside this "home".

If you leave that's when I'll go

Where can I go?
Track Name: You're
Buttercups all around
In ampersands right where I found you
Crying your eyes out, losing the war

Shuffling slipper feet
Trying to hard not to sing but my smile cracks your surface
And you break into song

You poured all your soul into me
Left your toothbrush right next to my sink
From that moment forward
I knew I might love you too much

Fossils and rocks
Dusted on up by the dirt of cantankerous back roads
And an un-tuned guitar

You were a shimmer in my dark
A brief flicker and you were gone
Now I need you to come back, my doors still ajar

I poured myself into a drink
Caught your specter there just haunting my porch
Pleading, "You're better than this, you're better than this..."
"You're better than this, you're better than this..."

Now as my stomach's stitch travels up towards my chest
I feel close to death, but I'll never admit
That I'm better than that, and we're better than this
Track Name: Quietly Quietly
You move quiet, so quietly
Hayley you're so silent (oh silence...)
Please bury your head down

As the ebb and the flow strips the beige off your bones
All your half glass laments
Semi circle of friends left you alone

I compensate with caring nods
Some tried advice and afterthoughts
The drain clogged day just drifted off and off and on

You're more than the sum of your precious parts
Hayley, you've got more than those shaking arms
Walk it off if you can. No, don't run away

Your mothers eyes, your fathers stubborn brow
They're with you every ache and every hour

The wind chime wanders back and forth
Air makes music on it's own
The seeds we buy but never sew
Dulcet joys and moonlit tones

Familiar pains that saw then slow
To baby steps on your freezing flaw
The dreams that die but don't let go
There's Hayley, she's just holding on
Track Name: Brother ∞
Hey, are you alright?
If you leave that's when I'll go
Track Name: I'm No Captain
The ballast that's balancing me
Is holding my heels to the concrete
With the tin can rattle of this old bus shelter I'm free
A bottle of clockwork and stream
Above the below's that keep calling,
"Crawl on past my feet"

I'll divvy up all my evenings with an ounce of change
Step outside when it rains
Run laughing through a fire escape
Pull out my lights and ask if they'll glow
In a room filled with nothing bad

Ba da da ba ba
Ba da da ba ba ba ba

The dust of your daily defeats
Sweep them under the rug where you'll find me
With the toe tap rhythms and this awful weather I'm free
A bundle of buttons and seams left to wait
While your world keeps on working.
Go on, work through your week

I'll divvy up all my evenings with an ounce of change
Step outside when it rains
Throw vodka in your mothers face
Pull out the lights and ask if they'll glow
In a room filled with nothing but...

I never said I was a captain
Yeah, I said that I'd quit smoking
I'm down to two a day
I'm dizzied up by little motions
And my table top's just covered in loose change
Some coffee rings and some markers I nicked from that place

I'll divvy up all my evenings with an ounce of change
Step outside when it rains
Fall forwards and land right on my faith

I grasp for light, and I'm asking you to shine but you say;
"No no no no no no...not today"
"You take the front door, and I'll go the other way"
"We've shone for months, go on and give me a couple of days"
Yeah, I love my life but I won't keep it in a cage

I never said I was a captain
Not today
Track Name: Are You Alright?
My teeth stop their chatter when I hop on the bus
All the coughing commuters that just keep buttoned up
While I wrestle my wallet, tear my old ticket stubs
Press my head against the window until my cheek makes it's mark
I'm sorry, I need this, just an hour to reflect
On the lights of my life and all the dark coming next
Stroke my stubbled up face and keep my demons at bay
I let them out every evening, lock them up every day

Then they say
"Hey...are you alright?"
"Are you walking that line?"
A bottle of wine and I can shine
"I'm just asking, are you alright?"

My indigo outlook, yeah, my beaten path blues
Blur together all you monsters and your grey shades of truth
That'll ache through my eyes until I drink them both blind
I'm making mountains out of molehills with some handsome pricks' wife

I'm steaming, we're leaving
I slip in the snow
Whatshisname's away on business
Whatshername...oh...I don't know
She ducks out for a smoke, and that's when I go through her coat
Take a tenner for my taxi
Delete my number off her phone and then I go

"Hey...are you alright?"
"Are you fucked up or are you fine?"
I hide my headache in the night
"I'm just asking...are you alright?"

Do you have the time?
See, I've got a little but never as much as I'd like
The downtrodden questions, yeah, they're all coming around for seconds
I heard a whisper say "Matt's missing out on life"
All my petty indecisions, they travel in my circles
They're turning my diamonds into coal
I'm asking if I'm alright because I guess I'll never know

I'll fight my way out through the fire
Find some warmth within a flame
I'll trade my beers for bottled water
Crawl my conscience out the drain
Shake off all of my hang overs and I'll feel my head again
And you're asking if I'm alright
Well am I alight? Well am I?